Nicola Sturgeon's spokeswoman has hit back at lawyers who accused the former First Minister of using Trump tactics to undermine their arguments against juryless trials.

Ms Sturgeon sparked anger among the legal profession when she claimed on Monday that opposition to the plans demonstrates the polarisation of Scottish politics.

Her aide said that the reaction to her newspaper article “underlines the point" Ms Sturgeon was making about the current public discourse and is "a feature of modern politics."

The comment is likely to cause further irritation among lawyers who have said they are not taking a political position on the policy but oppose it for legal reasons.

In a strongly worded statement given exclusively to The Herald Tony Lenehan, president of the Faculty of Advocates Criminal Bar Association, which has 131 members across Scotland, said the criticisms he and colleagues in the profession had made were from a legal point of view and made "without any political affiliation or bias".

READ MORE: More lawyers hit back at Sturgeon claim they are acting politically

Mr Lenehan said: "This has echoes of the Trump approach of undermining any opposing voice by pretending those speaking are corrupted through hidden political motive."

He urged the former First Minister to leave the tactics of tarring "dissenting voices rather than respect and listen to their opinions" on the other side of the Atlantic.

Simon Brown, a founder member and treasurer of the Scottish Solicitors Bar Association, which represents more than 400 solicitors working in criminal courts across Scotland, also entered the row saying claims Ms Sturgeon made in a newspaper article this week suggesting critics of the proposal are motivated by party politics is "far from the truth".

The Herald:

Lady Dorrian, pictured above, carried out a review into the management of sexual offences cases.

In a statement to The Herald following the interventions by Mr Lenehan and Mr Brown, a spokesperson for Ms Sturgeon said she was not seeking to undermine the lawyer's arguments.

"Far from seeking to undermine the arguments against judge-only trials, Nicola said explicitly that ‘we should accept there are valid points on both sides', 'allow some good faith to enter the debate’, and described opposing arguments as ‘far from frivolous," said the spokeswoman.

"She has made clear she is open to discussion on all aspects of the Bill and that offer extends to the Faculty of Advocates. the Scottish Solicitors Bar Association and any others."

READ MORE: Lawyers accuse Nicola Sturgeon of using Trump's tactics against them

She added: “In some ways this response underlines the point Nicola was making about public discourse – that too often and too quickly are people put onto a 'side' or 'team' based on where we disagree which prevents us from being able to try to better understand each other’s point of view. That is not the fault of one side on this or any other issue – it is a feature of modern politics."

The proposal for a pilot for judge-only trials for cases of rape and attempted rape was included in the Scottish Government's Victims, Witnesses and Justice Reform (Scotland) Bill, published last month.

It following a recommendation in a wider review by Lady Dorrian into how sexual offences are handled.

But the pilot idea has drawn almost universal opposition from within the legal profession amid concerns it would breach the accused's right to a fair trial, though it is supported by groups such as Victim Support Scotland and Rape Crisis Scotland.

READ MORE: Angela Constance defends pilot plan for rape trials without juries

Writing in The Herald this month Angela Constance defended the pilot plan and said it was included the Dorrian review which highlighted lower conviction rates for serious sexual offences than other crimes and said the pilot would "be time-limited".

She said evidence suggested jurors were influenced by "rape myths" such as why the victim did not escape the attacker or report the offence earlier.

The Herald:

Justice Secretary Angela Constance.

Senior legal figures have been among those who have spoken out.

Lord Hope, the former Supreme Court judge, said the plans risked undermining “the most basic principle of judicial independence”.

Lord Uist, a retired senator of the College of Justice, described the plans as constitutionally repugnant and accused politicians of “treating the courts as forensic laboratories in which to experiment with their policies”.

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Writing in the Guardian on Monday, the former First Minister said: "It is depressingly striking in today’s politics just how quickly people adopt fixed and immovable positions. I am not breaking news with this observation – but being more removed from the cut and thrust has made it so much starker to me.

"The reaction to the proposed pilot of judge-only rape trials in Scotland, part of a package of measures to improve access to justice for victims of this appalling crime, is a case in point.

"Before going further, full disclosure. I was First Minister when the cabinet signed off the Victims, Witnesses and Justice Reform (Scotland) bill that includes this proposal. I support it. However, I also recognise that the arguments for and against are finely balanced – as is often the case with legislation seeking to tackle deep-seated problems.

"Indeed, that is why the proposal is for a time-limited pilot only – to test whether or not judge-only trials could help address the deficit of justice in rape cases without compromising the right to a fair trial of those accused. There has always been a recognition that the principle and detail of this proposal need serious consideration.

"But before the ink was even dry on the draft legislation and without a single word of debate or evidence being heard in parliament, let alone the shape of the final proposal being known, fixed positions had been staked.

"I am not expecting, or even trying, to change minds with this article – but I am expressing a hope that it is not too late for us all to take a breath. This issue matters. It should be beyond party politics. And it should not be beyond our body politic to approach it differently."